Located just 15 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean and 100 kilometers south of Porto, the village of Poutena in Portugal’s Bairrada region is home to the Vadio Project, a small organic winery run by Luis Patrão, his Brazilian girlfriend Eduarda, and his father Dinis. Their mission is the resurrection of the region’s traditional grape varieties - Bical, Cercial, and Baga - which have suffered a falling out of favor with the advent of international varietals in Portugal but are actually first-rate examples of the outstanding wine that can be produced in this region from local grapes. Luis is currently producing a crisp, saline sparkling, a textured white redolent of orange flower, and a precise, medium-bodied mineral red. Their first vintage was 2005.
Though viticulture has existed in this region since the Moor withdrawal in the 10th century, Bairrada gained recognition in the 17th century when it became a critical supplier to Port producers who needed juice to meet the ever-growing demand in Britain. In the centuries that followed, as the demand for Port decreased, Bairrada dropped off the wine map; vignerons sold their juice in bulk or made wine for personal consumption. The Vadio Project is striving to change the perception of Bairrada and show that it can produce world-class wine.
Vadio grows on two very distinct vineyard blocks: Rexarte and Barrio. The Rexarte vineyard features sloping westerly exposure and sandy loam soil. On .3 ha, Luis planted an experimental plot of various white varieties including Encruzado, Arinto, and Verdelho. They also have slightly larger plot of .5 ha planted to Cercial and Bical, their mainstay white cépages. In 2009, Luis purchased an equal sized .5 ha parcel of clay and sand soils to which he planted his red grape, Baga. The Barrio vineyard exhibits calcareous clay soil from the Jurassic Period. It’s actually split into two vineyards: the old portion called Barrio Belho, and a new portion planted in 2007, Barrio do Forno. Barrio is where the lion’s share of Baga grows. Viticulture is entirely organic.
Though the project’s goal is primarily to focus on red grapes, Vadio will continue to and to pay homage to the indigenous white varietals from Bairrada with their espumante and branco wines. They balance the seriousness of their intentions with a good sense of fun: Vadio means ‘bon-vivant bum,’ and Luis believes the wines should be consumed in the spirit of pleasure and lively good cheer.